The Househunter

So it’s 2016 and time for our first nose around someone else’s house this year. The housing market can be little quiet in January but I’ve still managed to dredge up a couple of beauties that you will enjoy wandering round and peering into their virtual closets.

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This one’s a beauty from The Modern House. It’s in the Barbican where it occupies the former estate office and has five bedrooms and a large private garden. It’s on the market for £4.5m.

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It was converted into a home by Ken Mackay, who runs Mackay + Partners, with Tracey Wiles, a Partner at Make Architects. They have highlighted the best of the original features, which include that beautiful Barbican concrete and double-height ceilings.

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The estate office was originally set up as the base from which to sell  the Barbican apartments, it then lay empty for ten years before the current owners bought it. Enormous changes needed to be made to convert it from an office to a home including the block of loos and the internal partitioning.

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Having reduced it to a shell, the architects used only three plasterboard walls to create the new layout – the rest was shaped by the exising structure or the use of joinery. I love it – what do you think?

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Next up is this little number in The Boltons, west London and I totally misread the price when I was choosing it for you because I misplaced the decimal point. I’m afraid it’s not £3.75m but is, in fact, £37.5m. I am actually, as the teenager would say LMAO at this mistake and it makes me even more determined to show it to you.

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Because do you know what? It’s fab but that price is ridikerlus. It’s all about the location and yes, while the spaces are amazing and the rooms are huge I can’t see that paying that much money is ever justifiable. Now this isn’t the place for a full on rant about the state of the housing market so enjoy the rooms I have picked, which are the nicest obviously.

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The rest are a little too grown-up and formal for me, which is perhaps what is expected when you have decided to spend that much money on a roof over your head, but do visit the page if you want to see more. It’s on with Knight Frank. Now there is a cinema, and a gym, and five bedrooms spread over five floors with a garage, a lift, staff quarters and, did I forget to mention, a swimming pool and spa. It would be lovely to go there on holiday I think. For a luxury weekend sort of think.

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I’ll say this for it though – I love that silver bath. I could happily wallow in that with a good book and a glass of something fizzing lightly on the edge.

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And on that bombshell…..


Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. being in the US, I wasn’t familiar with the Barbican. Fascinating and fabulous. The re-purposed office is wonderful, but agree not too cozy.

  2. Always loved the Barbican. For many years, I used to work in a building attached to the Barbican, it’s such a fab environment.

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